Eddie Jones rings in the changes by dropping Danny Care and George Ford for England's Six Nations clash against Ireland

David Cooper 15/03/2018
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Danny Care has been dropped for the Ireland game

England coach Eddie Jones has dropped half-backs Danny Care and George Ford for Saturday’s Six Nations finale against Ireland at Twickenham.

Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth starts in place of Care and will resume his club partnership with Owen Farrell, normally a centre for England but now at fly-half instead of childhood friend Ford.

These were just two of the most eye-catching of several changes made by Jones following England’s 22-16 loss to France in Paris last weekend – a defeat that ended their hopes of a third successive Six Nations title under the Australian coach.

Ben Te’o filled the inside centre position vacated by Farrell and forms a midfield duo with Jonathan Joseph after both men had been competing for the same place for most of this tournament.

Meanwhile wing Elliot Daly was passed fit following a foot problem.

Up front, fit-again hooker Dylan Hartley returns as captain after missing the defeat in Paris.

He was one of five changes to England’s pack announced Thursday, with Jones reshaping the back-row following tournament-ending injuries to Nathan Hughes and Courtney Lawes.

Their places were taken by Sam Simmonds and James Haskell, while prop Kyle Sinckler started in place of Dan Cole.

England are bidding to avoid losing three Tests in a row for the first time under Jones against an Ireland side bidding to win a Grand Slam.

England team:
Anthony Watson, Jonny May, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Te’O, Elliot Daly; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Sam Simmonds, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw; George Kruis, Maro Itoje; Kyle Sinckler, Dylan Hartley (capt), Mako Vunipola

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Don Armand), Danny Care George Ford, Mike Brown

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Captain Alun Wyn Jones returns as Warren Gatland makes seven changes for Wales ahead of Six Nations showdown with France

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The Welsh skipper returns to the starting lineup.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has recalled captain Alun Wyn Jones in one of seven changes to the team to play France in their final Six Nations outing of the season on Saturday.

The Welsh team are set on the Six Nations runners-up spot, knowing a bonus-point victory against France will guarantee them second place behind champions Ireland.

“Saturday is a huge opportunity for us to finish the campaign well, at home in front of our fans,” Gatland said, predicting a French team in fine spirits after their 22-16 win over England.

“France will be coming to Cardiff in good spirits after their victory over England last weekend so it is set to be a huge encounter.”

Lock Jones returns to captain the Welsh team, having been rested for last week’s Italy match that Wales won 38-14.

Jones, who will be partnered by Cory Hill with Bradley Davies on the bench, comes back into the pack along with Scarlets front rowers Rob Evans and Ken Owens and flanker Josh Navidi.

Flanker Josh Navidi is another who returns to the side for the clash.

Flanker Josh Navidi is another who returns to the side for the clash.

Navidi lines up alongside British and Irish Lions Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau at six and eight respectively, meaning Aaron Shingler will have to do with a place on the replacements bench.

Prop Tomas Francis is retained from the victory over Italy to start alongside Evans and hooker Owens.

Looking to lead Wales, unbeaten at home against France since 2010, around the park will be Dan Biggar, preferred at fly-half with Gareth Anscombe dropping to the bench.

Gareth Davies, yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on against Italy, starts at half-back with Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams in the midfield.

Liam Williams, George North and Leigh Halfpenny form an all Lions back-three.

“There have been some tough selection calls, but that is exactly what we want, we want to be in a position where there are selections and decisions to be made and we have had to make some tough ones this weekend,” said Gatland.

“We have picked a team and a squad we believe can deliver this weekend against France.”

Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith and Samson Lee are named as the front-row replacements with Davies and Shingler completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Anscombe and Steff Evans provide the backline cover.

Team (15-1)

Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Taulupe Faletau, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Cory Hill; Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Rob Evans

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, Steff Evans

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

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England coach Eddie Jones under scrutiny for Ireland and Wales comments

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England head coach Eddie Jones is sure to come in for more scrutiny when he faces the media in the wake of his derogatory remarks about Ireland and Wales coming to light.

Australian Jones apologised on Wednesday after footage emerged of him referring to Ireland as the “scummy Irish” and Wales as a “little s*** place”.

Jones was due to name his team to face NatWest 6 Nations champions Ireland at a media conference on Thursday morning at England’s training base at Pennyhill Park in Surrey.

The video shows Jones giving a talk on leadership for Fuso, the Japanese parent company of England sponsors Mitsubishi.

It was uploaded by Fuso to YouTube in July last year but has only come to light before Saturday’s final round of the 2018 Six Nations when England face Ireland at Twickenham.

Jones apologised for his comments on Wednesday evening and admitted his choice of words was inexcusable, saying he was “very sorry”. The Rugby Football Union said it would apologise to the Irish and Welsh unions.

In the talk, Jones told an audience: “We’ve played 23 Tests and have only lost one Test to the scummy Irish. I’m still dirty about that game. But we will get that back!

“We will get that back, don’t worry, we have them next year at home, we will get ’em back!”

Earlier in the talk, Jones discusses Japan Under-20s losing to their Welsh counterparts 125-0 shortly after he took over as Brave Blossoms head coach in 2012.

“Wales. Who knows Wales? Are there any Welsh people here? So it’s this little s*** place that has got three million people. Three million!” he said.

In his apology, released by the Rugby Football Union, Jones said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused – no excuses and I shouldn’t have said what I did. I’m very sorry.”

Jones could be without Dylan Hartley and Elliot Daly for the game against Ireland after both emerged as injury doubts on Wednesday ahead of his team announcement.

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